January 17, middle of Ohio, Interstate 71, 11:37 P.M.Gas light comes on. I’ve been monitoring my fuel consumption trying to hurry home. There is an ice storm blowing in from the northeast and I’m trying to beat it before the roads get slick. The freezing rain is pelting my helmet, I can feel the temperature dropping as I ride into the dark. I pulled off into a gas station at an exit that was situated in the middle of open fields and wind. As I’m pumping gas a man approaches me. He is wearing full Carhart gear. He asks me if it’s cold out. I’m shocked because he is clearly dressed for the cold. I get it though, nobody knows how to start a conversation with the motorcyclist in the middle of January in the early stages of an ice storm. More than likely he is thinking to himself; “What an idiot.” His obvious question must be somehow a test of my mental stability.
That brings up a common question from people when they spot me out. How do you ride in cold weather? Most motorcyclists know that it is an option, just prefer not to do it. If you haven’t experienced being the only motorcyclist out on the road during cold spells, I highly encourage it. The coldest weather to date that I have ridden in was 7 degrees in the middle of the night traveling home from some friends house an hour away from home. I’ll post some gear ideas and special considerations in the near future for all of you looking to experience the Polar Ride. In the meantime, get some heated gear specifically made for motorcycling. Lightweight, plugs into the bike itself, wear it under your clothing. Within 5-seconds you’ll be experiencing the warmth of 130 degree micro-wires. Rubber side down.